ONGC's Mumbai High: 50 years on still going strong

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New Delhi: India's flagship and largest oilfield Mumbai High was discovered on this day 50 years back and while most fields of that vintage have gone out of production, the field in the Arabian Sea is still going strong.


State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) held a function in Mumbai to mark the golden jubilee of the field which "brought newly independent India on the world oil map." "Over the past 50 years, thanks to the generation of energy soldiers of ONGC, Mumbai High has produced 527 million barrels of oil and 221 billion cubic meters of gas, around 70 per cent of India's domestic production so far," the firm said.

The Mumbai High Field (previously Bombay High Field) lies some 160-kilometre in the Arabian Sea offshore the western coast of India. It was discovered in February 1974 by the Russian and Indian team from the seismic exploration vessel Academic Arkhangelsky while mapping the Gulf of Cambay.

The field commenced production on May 21, 1976.


The field initially produced 3,500 barrels of oil per day and within three years, it reached 80,000 bpd.

A sub-sea pipeline was laid in 1978 to take the oil from the field to refineries in Mumbai. Until then, oil was shipped in tankers.

The field hit a peak of 4,76,000 barrels of oil per day and 28 billion cubic meters of gas in 1989 and has since seen a gradual decline in output. It is currently producing some 1,35,000 bpd of oil and 13 bcm of gas.


A decline in oil and gas production led to the need for a redevelopment plan. Mumbai High has over the years four redevelopment plans, involving billions of dollars of investment, that have kept the oil and gas flowing.

The field still has reserves that can continue to produce for a few more years. It had about 1.659 billion tonnes of total reserves in place.

At the function, former chairmen and directors associated with the western offshore fields were honoured.

Those felicitated included former chairmen R S Sharma and D K Sarraf, and five former directors for operations/offshore, including S K Moitra, Tapas Kumar Sengupta, and A K Srinivasan.

"The successful completion of Mumbai High's 50 years marks an extraordinary and glorious journey, complimented Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri" at the event held in Mumbai on February 18, a company statement said. "Puri emphasized Mumbai High's pivotal role as a beacon for future exploration, urging ONGC to embrace cutting-edge technologies like AI and Data Analytics for sustainability and reduced environmental impact." In his welcome address, ONGC chairman and CEO Arun Kumar Singh assured "intensified production plans and significant investments for exploration, expressing hope for discovering a new field akin to Mumbai High soon." He reiterated ONGC's commitment to exhaustively explore every opportunity within Mumbai High until every last drop of oil is recovered, underscoring the company's dedication to maximising resource utilisation.